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Yesterday I posted the first part of this two-part series that is meant to be a brief overview of what Dolphin fans should watch for when the workouts begin at the combine this weekend. Now I present to you part two of this overview - again with the disclaimer that this is far from a comprehensive list of things to look for over the next several days.
How do some of the "second-tier" inside linebackers measure up?
We've discussed Rolando McClain a lot already - and this is for all of those who don't want the Dolphins to draft the Alabama linebacker. There are a number of players who could potentially play the ILB spot in Miami's 3-4 defense. But many of them may not meet the size requirements that this regime is believed to have. So the weigh-ins for some of these linebackers will actually be pretty interesting. Guys like Sean Weatherspoon, Daryl Washington, Jamar Chaney, Micah Johnson, and Phillip Dillard are all guys who have question marks regarding their heights and weights in terms of meeting Miami's standards. Then after weighing in, these guys have to go out and perform. For those who have increased their weight from their college playing weight, they will have to show they carry the weight well. The 40 and the positional drills that showcase their hips and footwork will be critical. For those who measure in a little under this regime's size standards, the bench press could be a valuable way to show off their strength despite their lack of ideal size.
Which free safety will step up and earn the right to be the #2 FS in the draft after Eric Berry?
For those w ho have been following this site all offseason, you know my feelings on Eric Berry. In a perfect world, Berry somehow falls to the Dolphins at #12. And if the Dolphins were to pass on him, I would instantly be placed under state supervision because I would go completely nuts. But after Berry, there really isn't a clear cut #2 free safety. And we all know this team could use a free safety. He who will not be named stinks and Chris Clemons is still a project. So who is next in line after the Tennessee star?
I like Earl Thomas and Nate Allen a lot. But both have questions. Thomas is only about 5'10 but could make up for that lack of ideal height with a fast 40 and above average vertical leap. Allen, meanwhile, is taller and a defensive leader but might not possess ideal speed. LSU's Chad Jones and Georgia Tech's Morgan Burnett are also top safety prospects. But their speed is questionable, too. It'll be interesting to see what they run in the 40 as well as their times in the agility drills, should these guys choose to participate in them.
[Editor's Note: For the record, I did not "forget" about Taylor Mays. I purposely left him off. Why? Because he's not any good as a safety. He can't cover. He could be an average strong safety - maybe. But he's more likely to convert to linebacker than he is to stay at safety.]
Which wide receiver makes a move to become the clear #2 behind Dez Bryant?
Like the safety position, the receiver position has a clear cut top guy. But beyond that, there are a number of receivers who might be the second best in the 2010 class. Guys like Golden Tate, Arrelious Benn, Brandon LaFell, and Damian Williams all possess some of the characteristics needed. But all four also have their own question marks.
Benn might have the best size/speed combination. But his hands are questionable in the eyes of many. He could use a strong showing in the receiver positional drills - especially the one where they rapid fire passes to the receiver as he runs across the field. Benn will need to show he can catch consistently using his hands. LaFell also has some questions about his ability to catch cleanly and consistently. But critics also wonder about his ability to get separation - so a surprising 40 time would boost his stock. Tate needs to prove he's as fast as he looked against his competition. But more importantly, he has to show he can run good routes - as that's his number one knock. And Williams is very quick and the best route runner in the draft. But does he have the speed necessary to become a great receiver in the NFL?
"No-names" to watch
Every year at the combine there is always a few players who just "wow" everybody with their performance. These are some of the unheralded guys who could do just that in the coming days:
Carlton Mitchell, WR, South Florida - Here's a kid who is 6'4, 212 pounds and could run a 4.4 40 yard dash...or better.
Jacoby Ford, WR, Clemson - A real burner at 5'10, Ford will make a run at a 4.3 40.
Arthur Moats, OLB, James Madison - A productive pass rusher who will measure in around 250 pounds and potentially run a sub 4.6 40.
Joique Bell, RB, Wayne St. - An ultra-productive back who will time well and impress scouts with overall athleticism.
Austen Lane, DE/OLB, Murray St. - How about 23 sacks and 41.5 tackles for loss over the past two seasons. Not bad. He's going to measure in at 6'6 to 6'7 and between 265 and 275 - and then run a sub 4.7 40. That'll get some attention.